My Lessons | Work Small & Get Better Fast | Supplemental Videos | Student Critiques

Work Small & Get Better Fast

I’m a firm believer that intentional mileage is the fastest road to improving your painting. Working small and often is one of my secrets to success! Working small doesn’t give you an excuse to tighten up, however! I’ll share with you my tips for making small pieces have big impact!

Limiting Your Palette by Using Established Color Schemes

Once we have a structure we can translate our pieces into a variety of color schemes to create different moods and atmosphere in our paintings. We can explore the vast possibilities of color!

Loosening Up by Staying Small

Working small allows us to work relatively fast. we can use scraps of paper so we don’t feel too precious and if we let ourselves, we can explore a different kind of mark making!


These videos will extend your understanding of the key concepts presented this month. Spend some time with these. Some of them are YouTube videos available to the public but they fit nicely with our study, so I wanted you to be aware of them and take a look.

Taking It Abstract

In this little video, I talk about abstraction. Many reference photos have a lot going on in them. How do we simplify? To create successful compositions you'll want to identify the strong shapes and strong value differences. This will allow you to move from a realistic depiction to a more abstract one. In this short video I take you through the steps that I use to simplify an abstract and image.

A Little Color Theory

Does color theory make your eyes cross? In this quick overview on the topic, Marla makes sense of basic color theory and explains how you can use it to add excitement to your pastel paintings. With a greater understanding of hue and intensity, value and contrast, color temperature, simultaneous contrast, and more, you'll handle color in your paintings with greater confidence and control.

Mastering Intensity

Compressing Values

Miniatures Lesson Tidbit